First, a little note to say sorry for my brief absence. My computer died its long-anticipated death rather abruptly while I am over here in the midwest visiting my girlfriend, The Liminal Pagan. And I had to scramble to get a new baby. In order to break it in, I transcribed a little story that I wrote by hand in the library the other day. And now I am sharing it with you.
Warnings/Notes: This story contains a lighthearted but vulgar anecdote, which is made from the same sort of language and content you might expect from a group of dudes hanging out in a bar talking about sex. So, let that be known.
There will probably be more words from this narrator sometime in the future, on account of I like him a great deal and I think he has more to say. We'll see.
“There’s this girl up in Webster what fetishizes the writin’ hand,” I told the boy.
The bartender slid me a shot. “You tellin’ stories, Jackson?”
“No, sir. Honest to Charlie. I met her last month and she was a real piece, if you get my double meaning. It was the writin’, see,” I told the boy.
“You a writer?” he asked me.
“Sure enough,” I told him. “See I met her at this little get-together-like, up in Webster. Where all us unpublished nothings do a bit of readin’, a bit of minglin’, tryin’ to drum up attention and givin’ each other critiques and so forth. She was one of the folks just come to listen. She come up to me after, says she was a real fan of my work. Says it really touched her. She was sincere, too. We had a real good chat about it for a few minutes, about the particulars and whatnot. I had no idea she was about to take it where she took it. Took me completely by surprise.”
“Where’d she take it?”
“She told me she wanted me to come up to her room so as she could watch me masturbate.”
“She did not.”
“She did. Honest to Charlie,” I said. “And I gotta say it surprised me so much I couldn’t do nothin’ but take her up on it. So up we went.”
The bartender was listening again. “Fine way to lose your cock, Jackson.”
“How do you figure?”
He shrugged. “Sounds like a proposition some psycho would make. Good way to end up a mutilated corpse. Or else wake up in a bathtub full of ice with your phone taped to your wrist, and missin’ a kidney.”
“Better a kidney than a cock,” I said. “Say, you got a real morbid mind, Earl. A real imaginative mind. You ever thought about bein’ a writer?”
The bartender shrugged. “I call ‘em like I sees ‘em,” he said.
“Right,” I said, and turned my attention back to the boy. “So anyway, as I was sayin’, we go up to her room, and she offers me a chair and tells me to get to it. No more friendly chatter, no drink, no kiss, nothin’. Just right to the dirty solitaire.”
“Jesus, Jackson,” muttered Earl.
“So what’d you do?” the boy asked.
“What anyone would have done,” I said. “I whipped it out and spit into my hand and started jerkin’ it.”
“That is assuredly not what ‘anyone’ would have done,” said Earl.
I had the boy good and wrapped up now. “What’d she do?”
“Just sat there an’ watched,” I said. “I’d never been in a position like that before, and it turns out I’m sorta sheepish, so I just focused on the task at hand, as it were, thinkin’ ‘bout all the regular things.”
“Like what?” the boy asked.
“All the regular things,” I said.
“I thought this story was about writin’,” said the bartender.
“I’m gettin’ to it,” I said. “So this girl, she waits until I’m good and hard, waits until damn near the last moment, then she interrupts me. I was sorta gettin’ into it by then, so she sorta took me by surprise, just sneakin’ up into my lap an’ grabbin’ my hand. She looks up at me and she says, ‘This your hand what does the writin’?’ And I say ‘Yes ma’am.’ And she says ‘I want you to fuck me with it.’”
Earl let out a short bark of a laugh, but I could tell he was into it by then.
“Seriously?” said the boy.
“Very truly,” I said. “Then she proceeds to do all the fucking herself. I could barely lift a pen the next day, to tell it true. Honest to Charlie, she fucked the daylights out of my hand.”
“What about the rest of you?” asked Earl.
“The rest of me she left mostly alone. See the thing is, she gets off on the hand that does the writin’. Like it’s the hand itself that’s the storyteller or somethin’. It’s the one what holds the pen, so it’s like the mighty instrument of my authorial genius, see? The whole bit with the masturbation, that’s just so she knows for sure which hand it is.”
“But why—” said the boy, then stopped himself, like he was embarrassed.
“Why didn’t she just ask?” said Earl.
“Earl, I take back what I said. You got no imagination at all,” I said.
Earl just shrugged. He don’t take nothin’ personal.
“Because the intrigue,” I said. “This is a girl who likes good stories, remember. It wouldn’t do to just ask a thing like that. She has to be clever. Subtle.”
“What the hell is subtle about inviting you to come masturbate at her place?” demanded Earl.
“She could have asked you to sign something,” suggested the boy.
“Subtle but direct,” I amended. “And it was also about being fair. Fucking my hand was mostly about her, see? So she waited until I was good to go and then it was more evenly balanced. So we both got somethin’ out of it.”
That left them both quiet for a few.
“Well damn,” said Earl.
“And that,” I said, and finally took my medicine, “is the story of the girl up in Webster, what fetishizes the writin’ hand.”
“You ever go back there again?” asked the boy.
I said, “Nah. She was only interested in the one time. Besides, she’s not really my type.”
“Uh-huh,” said Earl.
“Honest to Charlie,” I said. “Because it ain’t the hand that does the writing, see. It ain’t any one part of me. It’s the whole me. It’s fuckin’ intangible.” I lit myself a cigarette and took a nice long drag. “She was a real wild, interesting character. But at the end of the day, she was all wrong about what makes a story.”
“Isn’t that what they say about you?” muttered Earl, his interest sufficiently waned.
I turned to the boy and stuck out my hand. “I’m Jackson, by the way.”
“I know,” said the boy, making a little glance at Earl as he shook my hand.
I grinned. “I hope my story didn’t offend you,” I said. “I been known to speak the naked truth to strangers, even perfect strangers, such as yourself.” I wondered if he’d get my little joke. He quirked an odd half-smile, like he almost did.
“You wanna come over for a bit?” I asked.
“I’m left-handed,” he said.
“I know.” I pointed to his half-finished beer, perched between his open left fingers. “Come anyway.”
Maybe he wasn’t sure why, but he took me up on it.
A little while later, when he was situated comfortably between me and my bedroom wall, he asked, “Who’s Charlie?”
“You keep saying ‘honest to Charlie,’” he said. He was a little out of breath. “I never heard that expression before. Who’s Charlie?”
I smiled at him. “You are. You’re Charlie.”
“My name’s Patrick.”
“Doesn’t matter. Charlie’s just a placeholder, see. It could be anything. I don’t believe in God, so I use Charlie, and Charlie is whatever I would swear by. Whatever I happen to be worshipping.”
He grinned. A nice grin. “So I’m Charlie?”
“Right now you are.” I leaned into his long, tender neck. “In the bar it was the whiskey.”
Later still, when he was splayed gently across my bed with an arm draped over me, he said, “Was it really a girl, in the story?”
I blew another in the long catalogue of imperfect smoke rings. “You’re asking if I’m exclusively a fag,” I said.
“I like all sorts.” The cig was boring me. I put it out in the ashtray by my bed. “And I always mean what I say.”
“Well, I’m not perfect,” I said. “But I sure do try.”
That was the story of how I met Patrick.